Builder targeted by gang over debt, judge told
Businessman is ordered into court
GARDAI warned a builder about his safety after criminals were allegedly hired to collect a debt he owed to a businessman, the High Court heard yesterday.
Businessman Tony Woods, who was allegedly owed €150,000 by builder James Clancy, has been ordered to appear before the court next week after a judge was told gardai had received information that a "well-known criminal family" had engaged a person in Limerick to collect the debt from Mr Clancy.
Mr Justice Brian McGovern made the order yesterday as he dealt with a case taken by ACC Asset Finance, which is trying to enforce a judgment against Mr Clancy of Furbo, Co Galway, ordering him to repay €3.29m.
ACC Asset Finance secured the judgment over unpaid loans advanced for a machine used to manufacture prefabricated polystyrene houses.
The company has been trying to secure information about assets of Mr Clancy in the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere but claims he has failed to provide all the information sought.
Mr Clancy was jailed last April for two weeks for contempt of court over this failure and the judge yesterday warned him he faces another more substantial period in prison unless the court orders are complied with. The matter was "very serious", he said.
A solicitor for Mr Clancy told the judge yesterday that the "wrong impression" was given to the court last month that Mr Clancy had received money from "elements" in Limerick.
The solicitor said the court previously heard Mr Clancy had an agent in Abu Dhabi, Stephen Graham, who helped him negotiate the release of equipment held there with €150,000 raised by Mr Clancy from Mr Woods, the owner of Midland Steel.
Mr Clancy, the court previously heard, had spent €4.8m on equipment as part of an intended joint venture building project.
He had intended going into partnership with another company in Abu Dhabi but that did not happen, the solicitor said. His instructions were Mr Graham negotiated the release of equipment and this was stored in another warehouse in Abu Dhabi, but further storage and other costs were incurred and some €275,000 was now owed.
It appeared Mr Woods had employed persons to collect the debt or had sold the debt to them but Mr Clancy had no connections with those persons, the solicitor added.
Det Gda Michael Staunton said he contacted Mr Clancy last month after the garda criminal intelligence unit received information there was a threat to Mr Clancy and that a well known criminal family had engaged a person in Limerick, "known to the gardai", to collect a debt from Mr Clancy. Mr Clancy also received advice from the Garda Crime Prevention Unit.
Det Gda Staunton also said the intelligence identified the person to whom money was owed but he was claiming privilege over the intelligence. He could not disclose details about security measures, he added.
Asked was Mr Woods included in those reports, Det Staunton said he was claiming privilege.